1. Home
  2. News and insights
  3. Energy in focus magazine
  4. Bernard on UK phase-out of petrol and diesel vehicles

Backing end of the ICE age

Release date:
15 September 2020
Bernard explains why bp supports the UK’s phase-out of new sales of petrol and diesel cars and vans

Last week, I blogged about the growth of electric vehicles (EVs), and why we made electrification, including EV charging facilities, a central part of our new strategy.


But you can’t have this discussion without talking about the rest of the fleet – the petrol and diesel cars and vans – that make up the overwhelming majority of vehicles on the roads right now. 


One debate here in the UK at the moment is around ending sales of new petrol and diesel cars and vans – which the government has proposed by 2040 in England and Wales. Of course, this phase-out is part of how the UK plans to meet its target of net zero by 2050 – the first major industrialized nation to put that goal into law. 


bp wants to get to net zero – and help the world to get there too – so we want to be clear: we actively support these measures, even if it is a challenge to our legacy business.


Why? Because our own action for net zero cannot be in isolation – it must support and be part of the bigger picture. And an important part of our approach to getting to net zero is advocating for progressive climate policies. 


“As well as backing this phase-out, we believe it can – and should – be brought in sooner than 2040.” 


Bernard Looney, bp CEO


Whether that is 2035, 2032 or 2030 – we are up for it – and, importantly, we’re up for the measures and supporting policies to boost electrification and hydrogen in transport that are needed to make it possible.


So how can it be done? For an earlier phase-out to be effective and viable, we believe the UK will need:

  • Alternative technologies, fuels and markets to fill the gap – especially EVs and hydrogen.  
  • Strong policies to improve battery technology, and rollout of infrastructure for hydrogen and ultra-fast charging.
  • Continued internal combustion engine efficiency improvements. 
  • Plug-in hybridzation – which may provide an important bridging technology to build consumer confidence – and with a longer-term role for some energy-intensive transport uses.


Don’t get us wrong, hydrocarbons will have a role to play in bp and in society for many years. And every country has its own circumstances – options, challenges and priorities. But the UK’s phase-out of new sales of petrol and diesel cars and vans is exactly the kind of action that’s needed to deliver the energy transition we all want.


And with the right policies and infrastructure, we support the UK bringing it forward from 2040.

Be the first to know...

Keep up to date with all the latest developments on our net zero journey by signing up to our monthly newsletter